Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Commercial Development On Cliff Dawson Road Dominates Final Discussion Of Steering Committee For Comprehensive Plan Update

***Citizens Voice Concerns***

The final meeting of the Stakeholders Committee charged with shaping the 2018 Comprehensive Plan was supposed to be a tidying up session ending with Committee approval of the document for public review and government adoption.

Instead it turned into a lengthy discussion of the possibility of commercial development on the western end of Cliff Dawson Road as it meets Mars Hill Road.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Georgia Department Of Transportation Explains Plans For Truck Bypass Of Bishop To Citizen Advisory Committee

***Meeting Room Full***

The Georgia Department of Transportation rolled out its plans for a truck bypass of Bishop as part of its upgrade of U.S. 441 to a generally receptive Oconee County Citizen Advisory Committee last (Monday) night at Oconee Veterans Park.

The plans were unchanged from those previewed to the Bishop City Council last week and call for a close-in, two-lane truck bypass on the east side of Bishop that would begin at Astondale Road on the south and reconnect with U.S. 441 on the north at High Shoals Road.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Original And Alternate Sites For Apalachee River Intake For Hard Labor Creek Reservoir Found Not Feasible

***Power Plant Has Water Rights***

The Walton County Water and Sewer Authority asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to modify its permit for an intake facility on the Apalachee River after determining that not only its original site but three of its four alternatives are not feasible.

Rights to the water that the Water and Sewer Authority wanted to withdraw from the original and the three alternate sites are protected under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission permit for a power plant located on the river just upstream from the SR 186 bridge over the Apalachee River.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Oconee County’s Joe Hunt Says He Has Skills From Business That Will Make Him A Good Representative In Washington

***Challenging Jody Hice***

Joe Hunt says he can remember when he first started thinking about challenging incumbent Jody Hice for the Republican nomination to represent Georgia District 10 in the United States House of Representatives.

Hunt said he didn’t vote for Hice in either of Hice’s two previous elections in 2014 and 2016 and wrote his own name on the ballot in 2016, when Hice had no opposition.

“When I walked out of the booth in November of 2016,” Hunt said. “I looked at my wife and said, ‘That cannot happen again.’ If no one else is going to do it, then it is my responsibility to do it.”

Friday, March 16, 2018

University Of Georgia Tells State Department Of Transportation Of Concerns About Truck Bypass Of Bishop

***Could Move Equestrian Facility***

The University of Georgia Athletic Department has told the state Department of Transportation that it has “serious concerns” about the proposal to build a truck bypass of U.S. 441 on the eastern side of Bishop bordering on the university’s equestrian facility on Astondale Road.

Athletic Director Greg McGarity acknowledged the “commitment from GDOT to mitigate the noise associated with the construction of the bypass as well as the actual traffic associated with the completed bypass.”

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Morgan County Asking Corps Of Engineers To Hold Public Hearing On Hard Labor Creek Permit

Public Meeting Also

Morgan County will ask the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to hold a public hearing on the request by the Walton County Water and Sewer Authority for an intake facility on the Apalachee River in Morgan County and for an extension of the permit for withdrawal of water from the river.

The county also will ask for a public meeting with the Water and Sewer Authority, engineers for the project, and the Corps to answer questions from the public about the project, according to Morgan County Manager Adam Mestres.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Democratic Candidate For Oconee County Board Of Commissioners Seat Withdraws

***Two Democrats In Education Board Race***

The Oconee County Democratic Party lost its sole contender for a Board of Commissioners seat yesterday (Monday) morning when Tyra Byers withdrew from the race.

Byers, a program coordinator at the University of Georgia, had filed on the last day of qualifying on Friday to run for Post 3 on the Board of Commissioners.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Georgia Department Of Transportation Proposing Truck Bypass Of Bishop

***Plans Revealed To Bishop Council***

The Georgia Department of Transportation has developed an alternate plan for improvements to U.S. 441 that involves a close-in truck bypass on the east side of the City of Bishop.

Officials from GDOT presented the broad outlines of the plan to the City Council of Bishop on Monday night, where it got at least some support.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Extension Of Withdrawal Permit To Transfer Water From Apalachee River To Hard Labor Creek Is Up For Federal Review

***Intake Facility Not Yet Needed***

The Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir Management Board in August of last year asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for an extension of its permit to withdraw water from the Apalachee River, but it has not yet received that extension.

The original permit expired on Feb. 28, 2014, and had been extended to February of 2019.

Oconee County Democrats Qualify Candidate In Board Of Commissioners Race

***May And November Ballots Set***

Tyra Byers qualified as a Democrat for Post 3 on the Oconee County Board of Commissioners on the final day of filing on Friday, bringing to three the number of county races to be contested by both parties in November.

Incumbent Republican Chuck Horton, who holds Post 2 on the Board of Commissioners, did not get any Democratic or Republican challengers, meaning he will run unopposed in the May 22 Republican primary and in the November 6 general election.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Busy Day Of Qualifying On Thursday Leads To Contests For Oconee County Board Of Education Seats

***No Democrats For County Commission***

In a busy day of qualifying Thursday, a Democrat and a Republican filed to run for Post 2 on the Oconee County Board of Education against incumbent Republican Amy Parrish, who qualified on Tuesday.

Andrea Wellnitz filed for the Democratic primary, and Adam Spence filed for the Republican primary.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Oconee County Schools Train Staff In Civilian Response To Active Shooters, Board Of Education Members Told

***Surveillance Cameras In Place***

Dallas LeDuff, director of Student Services for Oconee County Schools, assured members of the Board of Education on Monday that Oconee County Schools have procedures in place to provide safety at the system’s campuses.

Included, LeDuff said, are surveillance cameras in every building and on each school bus and security vestibules at the school buildings with remote locking mechanisms that deny access to the students in the schools.

Incumbents On Oconee County Ballot In May Primaries Get Challengers

***Two Republicans, One Democrat***

Three incumbents whose names will be on the Oconee County ballot for the May 22 primary elections picked up challengers in qualifying on Wednesday.

Joe Hunt, an Oconee County businessman, filed to run in the Republican primary against U.S. Representative Jody Hice.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Residents Along The Apalachee River Gave Notice To Oconee County Commissioners Of Their Concerns About Proposed Intake Site

***Unusual Votes On Appointment***

Residents along the Apalachee River concerned about the location of a proposed intake for the Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir in Walton County communicated their uneasiness to the Oconee County Board of Commissioners last (Tuesday) night.

Liz Marchant, 1011 Riverbanks Road in the Riverwalk subdivision in Morgan County, told the Oconee County Commissioners in brief comments at the front of the meeting that she wanted them to be aware that residents along the Apalachee River are not content with the proposed intake location.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Incumbent Oconee County Commissioners And Board Of Education Members Qualify

***Hice Draws Opposition***

Oconee County’s two commissioners and two Board of Education members whose terms expire at the end of this year have qualified for re-election.

All four are Republicans, and no one has come forward in the first two days of qualifying to compete against any of the four in the May 22 primaries.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Citizens Along Apalachee River In Oconee And Morgan Counties Oppose New Intake Facility For Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir

***Seek Public Hearing***

Residents living along the Apalachee River turned out in force on Sunday, producing a petition after nearly two hours of discussion with 73 names on it directed toward the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Petitioners are asking the Corps to hold a public hearing on a previously undisclosed decision by the Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir Management Board to move its planned intake site on the Apalachee River from High Shoals to several miles south in Morgan County.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Oconee County Democrats Sponsoring March For Our Lives Rally On March 24 At Veterans Park

***BOE To Get Report On School Safety***

The Oconee County Democratic Committee is sponsoring a local March For Our Lives Rally from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 24 at Oconee Veterans Park.

The local event is part of a national day of demonstrations following the Feb. 14 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Oconee County Review Committee Approves Plans for Buildings For Land Between Jennings Mill Road And Oconee Connector

***Extends Medical Complex***

The Oconee County Development Review Committee approved the preliminary site plans for two additional buildings on the now-cleared land between Jennings Mill Road and the Oconee Connector at SR Loop 10.

Those plans calls for a 21,020 square-foot-building to house University Surgical Vascular and a 9,972 square-foot-building for an office of The Commercial Bank.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Republican Candidate For Lieutenant Governor Told Oconee County Republicans The Party Will Retain Its Hold On State

Expects Light Turnout For Primary

Rick Jeffares, running for Georgia lieutenant governor, told Oconee County Republicans that he doesn’t expect the Republicans to loose any state offices in November and that the party is likely to control state politics for at least eight to 12 more years.

Jeffares, from Henry County, said he expects fewer people to vote in the May 22 Republican primary than voted in the primary four years ago.